In a bid to demean a power show orchestrated by rival political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Lahore, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali sparked damning outrage over misogynist statements.
The crude statements targeted women who participated in the PTI rally and Member National Assembly (MNA) Shireen Mazari. Where Sanaullah raised ‘concerns’ over the ‘character’ of PTI’s women supporters, Ali’s tirade elaborated the scuffle between him and MNA Murad Saeed during the parliament’s budget session on April 27.
Unsurprisingly, the comments received severe backlash from all quarters. Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Imran Khan expressed his disgust and strongly condemned the filthy language used by Sanaullah and Ali against PTI women supporters.
“In the past 30 years, these people have always disrespected women which is against our religion & culture. I want to thank our women for coming out in such huge numbers!”
Rana Sanaullah and his fellow cohorts reflect the mindset of the Sharifs & how they look down on women. Scratch the surface and their real face emerges. https://t.co/PAptflmHM9
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 30, 2018
MNA Mazari also condemned the language, adding that PTI could respond in kind about PML-N women supporter “but will not stoop” to their level.
So PMLN guttersnipes have come out showing their gutter origins by using filthy lang ag PTI women – from Abid Sher Ali to Talal Ch to Rana Sanaullah & in footsteps of Kh Asif! Can respond in kind abt PMLN women but will not stoop to gutter level! Let them wallow in their filth
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) April 30, 2018
Seasoned politician Shah Mehmood Qureshi also condemned the comments.
I strongly condemn the disgraceful and disgusting statements of Rana Sanaullah & Abid Sher Ali against PTI women. The party is proud of it's women. They are the flag bearers of our movement and a source of inspiration for all of us.
— Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) April 30, 2018
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Syed Ali Raza Abidi termed the statements “unacceptable and disgusting”.
The statement was unacceptable and disgusting. But then there are many more misogynists in politics whom you will need to boycott as the precedence will be set.
— Syed Ali Raza Abidi (@abidifactor) April 30, 2018
The statements also drew ire from journalist with Marvi Sirmed highlighting the patriarchal and misogynist culture in PML-N.
Rana Sanaullah's statement about women participating in yesterday's PTI jalsa, is puke worthy & despicable. PMLN men prove almost everyday the misogynist culture of their party and patriarchal character of their own. This entire lot of chauvinist males needs urgent replacement.
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) April 30, 2018
While Fasi Zaka used sarcasm to point out the obvious:
Imran Khan: So here are my 11 points about the ..
Rana Sanaullah: Your women %$#$% are $#%$$@
Abid Sher Ali: Your women are &%$&#&$%
— Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) April 30, 2018
Ejaz Haider wondered why people expected any different from Sanaullah and Ali.
folk, ref Rana Sanaullah & Abid Sher Ali: why are you outraged? having seen & heard them, several times, if you expected anything other than plain shit from them, the fault is yours. agar kachray ke truck meiN se aap khushboo talash kar rahay haiN tau yeh aap ki himaqat hai.
— EH (@ejazhaider) April 30, 2018
Punjab govt distances itself from Sanaullah, Ali’s statements
The Punjab Government distanced itself from the remarks by Provincial Law Minister Sanaullah and Minister of State for Power Abid Sher Ali. Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif also apologised for the statements. “PML-N acknowledges and encourages the role of women in national politics, he said. “Any statement demeaning them is highly irresponsible. We have to maintain decency and element of respect in political discourse. I apologise for anti-women remarks made by some party leaders.”
PMLN acknowledes and encourages the role of women in national politics. Any statement demeaning them is highly irresponsible. We have to maintain decency and element of respect in political discourse. I apologise for anti-women remarks made by some party leaders.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) May 1, 2018
Speaking on Express News show Kal Tak, spokesperson for the Government of Punjab Malik Ahmed Khan condemned the comments. “Be it Sanaullah, Ali or Imran Khan – these remarks cannot be tolerated as these women are our mothers, sisters and daughters. I condemn what Sanaullah said.”
Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan also condemned the remarks on Twitter.
Disrespectful remarks about women are reprehensible, regardless of who utters them.
— Khurram Dastgir-Khan (@kdastgirkhan) May 1, 2018